REGULAR SPRING AND FALL WORKSHOPS!
I have been teaching writing workshops for all ages for eighteen years. These may include poetry workshops as well as general creative writing, but most frequently I teach memoir.
Let me tell you about the Life Lines Memoir or Writing Quietly workshops, the kind of thing I do:
I run a very relaxed, comfortable writing class. Most of the group members are seniors, although not all. Some members are former housewives, schoolteachers, GE engineers, doctors, widows and widowers, cancer survivors or other life-crisis survivors. Some are computer savvy, some are not and are not even on email. Some are a little shy. Some are ebullient. All are fascinating. Some are remarkably good writers. Some are real novices but have great stories nonetheless. Some have absolutely no intention of publishing their memoirs, or will self-publish on a small scale for family and friends. A few have gone on to have stories printed in newspapers, magazines (Adirondack Life was one), to self-publish manuscripts or seek professional publishers.
Workshop sessions can be limited to a day or an afternoon, but my regularly scheduled workshops can run two hours weekly for five or six weeks, depending on the venue.
I introduce a prompt (example: cup of coffee, the view from my window, how I got my name) with every meeting and we free write for ten minutes on whatever comes to mind. The idea is to pour onto the page whatever comes into your head. These can be rewritten or discarded, but I recommend holding on to them for awhile–rereading them at a later date. Reading aloud in class is recommended but voluntary. If it’s an on-line class (see below) you can choose to show your work only to me or to the other participants.
I also give homework assignments. Again, these are voluntary. If you are currently working on something of your own, that’s okay. You can bring it to class to read aloud. In some cases, not very often, someone will print copies out for everyone in the class so they can read in advance and make comments. Often this is prohibitive in terms of timing. We just don’t have a lot of time for very long pieces (more than 5 pages).
In general, I run these as a support group, rather than a critique group. The essential idea is to give the basic instruction to get started and keep going on writing your stories. You can ask for comments if you want. Otherwise everyone just nods and applauds or provides helpful, supportive hurrahs.
The workshops take place at several locations, spring and fall, in Saratoga County, New York and beyond. Most groups also have an interim writing group that gathers between the workshop sessions when I’m not teaching. Also connect with your local library to see if they have a writing group.
I also run private groups upon request.
Also possible are short (one- or two-hour) introductory presentations for groups interested in knowing more about the process. The cost varies depending on time and travel, but start at $100.
The Adirondack Center for Writing offers on-line workshops, and sometimes I am one of the instructors. For more information, please contact Adirondack Center for Writing
PLEASE CONTACT THE LOCATIONS BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION, DIRECTIONS AND TO RESERVE A PLACE IN THE CLASS.
Warrensburg, NY – there is an active writing group meeting there if you’re interested – contact Persis Granger at PersisGranger@aol.com
REGULAR MEMOIR WORKSHOPS IN SARATOGA COUNTY :
BURNT HILLS, Town of Ballston Library – Thursdays April into May and September into October from 10:30 to 12:30. This is a long-running, popular workshop. It is free, meets for six weeks. Mixed group of men and women, some of whom have been taking the class since it started in 2006. We’re about fifteen strong. Some have gotten pretty far along with writing memoir. New folks are most welcome and also become repeat attenders. That library number is 518- 399-8174 to register.
HALFMOON – Halfmoon Senior Center (Memories to Memoirs) In the Spring, again from April into May and in the fall from September into October. Runs for five weeks every Tuesday from 12:30 to 2:30. Also a long-running and popular workshop. This is supported by the Clifton Park-Half Moon Public Library. The number there is 518-371-3892 to register. The cost is a membership in the Senior Center. Again, many of this somewhat smaller group (12-15) have been coming for years. Women, men and all seniors. Incredibly warm and supportive and fun, especially towards new people.
SHENENDEHOWA – Shenendehowa Adult Community Center (Memories to Memoirs) is being taken over by author, Robert Miner, and educator, Claudia Hough. This group is the longest running (since 1997 with Elaine Handley) and is a fairly small group of about ten seniors. The meetings are held at the Center just off Vischer Ferry Road in Clifton Park. Please call the center at 518 – 383-1343 for dates, more information and to register.
And don’t forget the programs, readings and on-line writing opportunities offered by the Adirondack Center for Writing!